Many kids grow accustomed to mom or dad saying things three or four times. They don’t really even have to listen until a parent is frustrated and yelling at them. So how do we change this habit?
We make sure that we only ask once, and expect kids to act the first time.
Remember to follow AID:
Attention: Get your child’s attention before you ask them to do anything. If they are watching TV, get between them and the box. If they are across the school yard, go to them. You need to be right beside the child.
Instruction: Once you have your child’s attention, give the instruction. Don’t ask, ‘Are you ready for dinner?’, say, ‘It’s time for dinner.’
Direction: You are right beside your child so if they don’t listen, now is the time to direct them to do the behaviour. ‘Are you turning off the TV or am I? Are you walking up to dinner on your own or with my help?’
When we ask things once and expect our kids to follow through the first time, we are teaching them a new habit.
Remember: Do not ask your kids to do something unless you are right there to ensure that it will happen the first time. This is especially important for parents with an infant and an older child. Too often, we repeatedly ask the older child to do something while we are changing the baby’s diaper. The older child knows that we cannot enforce our request so it falls on deaf ears.
This sounds like a hassle and it does require extra effort up front. However, it stops the energy-drain and frustration that comes from nagging incessantly and it teaches your kids to respond the first time. Once you’ve changed the habit, you can experiment with how far you need to be from your child when you give an instruction.
Image of yelling parents from Shutterstock.
Technology is here to stay.
Many of us rely on it for everything from our daily schedule to checking in with relatives overseas to finding a recipe we need for tonight’s dinner (or finding a menu to order-in.)
So how do we balance the use of our devices with our parenting? That requires taking time to consider what is really important, and then how we will put those ideas into practice.
It is not surprising that many parents would put their child’s health and development high on their list of priorities—but what they may not realize is the way technology interferes with this. Infants and young children need eye-to-eye contact. According to Catherine Steiner-Adair, in her book The Big Disconnect,
‘The mirroring exchange that occurs when we return our baby’s gaze or giggle allows us to communicate wordlessly… if that connection is stable, steady and supportive, baby and parent form a ‘secure attachment.’ When those qualities are weak or missing, the attachment may be compromised. ..Studies show that [babies] are especially distressed by a mother’s ‘flat’ or emotionless expression…adopted when we stare down to text or into a screen as we go online.’
As children reach age six or seven, parents’ distraction with technology is leading kids to misbehave for attention. A parent recently asked us, ‘Can you believe that my child is throwing things at me to get me off the phone?’ Yes. We can believe it. It may be that the child has learned that throwing things is the easiest way to get Mom or Dad off the device.
So…what can we do about this? It is simple really. Decide when you will be on your devices and when you will put them down—out of reach. Then, do it!
Is the person on the other end of the device that much more important than your child? Children do not need to be the one-and-only thing in our lives—we just need to be clear that when we are with our kids (spending time cooking, playing, walking or hanging out,) that we are with them. When we are working or communicating with others, we aren’t pretending to be present with our kids. The bottom line is: no matter how good a parent thinks they can fake their presence and attention, kids just don’t buy it.
Image of child with phone from Shutterstock.